Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leashless tool conversion

I resisted the leashless movement for years.  Now I may have moved over to the dark side.

1. Easy to shake out a pumped forearm
2. Faster to place screws and other protection whatever they might be
3. Easy to traverse since you can match on a tool
4. You can switch hands on a tool
1. If your feet slip and you can't hold on then you fall
2. *Can't "rest" on your leashes

*The truth is I have never gotten any rest on a leash.  I've only gotten an increased pump to my forearm, and decreased blood supply to my hands.  Your weight should be on your feet anyway.   So get off the leash and get on your feet.

Grivel Alp Wings baby!

My tool for 5 years has been the Grivel Alp Wing.  A great tool.  They don't make it anymore.  With just a few small changes it turns into a great leashless tool.  Steve House used a pair of these on the first alpine style ascent of the Rupal Face on Nanga Parbat - leashless.  I figure I can claw my way up a local waterfall with them.

The first step in going leashless is to remove the leashes - duh.  In my case they are the Grivel Easy-G leash.  As far as leashes are concerned they are really excellent, and I recommend this style over the ridiculous clipper leashes.  The first thing that goes when you're pumped is your fine motor control, and you really don't want to be messing around with tiny little clips on lead.

Next I wrapped the entire shaft up with some F4 tape.  I would highly recommend this stuff.  It's cheap, grippy, waterproof, and pretty long lasting.  It literally fuses to itself with no adhesive.  It's impossible to unwrap it after it has had a chance to fuse, which is about 1 day.  If you want to remove it just cut it off, and it comes off clean no goop.  The Petzl grip tape is the same thing but is $10 for 1 meter.  The F4 tape is $17 for 36 feet.  You do the math.

That's it for now.

Other future changes I would make:
-add some sort of additional hand support higher up, similar to the new Petzl Quark
-perhaps some sort of tether to prevent dropping them from high up

And I also put on some new picks ;)

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